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Published 17 August 2023 4 min read
England Para Teams

Report: England Partially Sighted 4-1 France

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

The Para Lions got their first win of the IBSA World Championship after coming from behind to seal victory over France


England’s partially sighted team got their IBSA World Championship campaign up and running with an emphatic 4-1 win over France.

After being held to a 3-3 draw by Spain the previous day, Steve Daley’s team really found their form at the University of Wolverhampton’s campus in Walsall on Thursday evening.

And they had to show their character too, after finding themselves a goal down in the first half.

But strikes from Adam Lione, Liam Spinks and a brace from Doug Pratt swung the game back in England’s favour before they face Italy in their final group game on Saturday evening knowing a semi-final spot is in their grasp.

The Para Lions started brightly and had early opportunities, with both Lione and Pratt going close in the opening exchanges.

But it was France who took the lead, thanks to a slick counter-attack via the Mundubeltz brothers, as Matthieu broke forward before slipping a pass across to Alexis who swept home the opening goal.
Liam Spinks was on the mark in the victory over France
Liam Spinks was on the mark in the victory over France
Jack Walsh then made a smart save to deny Seckou Sonko from doubling France’s advantage when his pace took him clear on goal.

That proved to be a key moment too, as the equaliser arrived soon after when Pratt’s diagonal ball into the area was met by Lione, who prodded home from close range to level things up.

And the Para Lions took the lead soon after that, when Harry Gibbons saw a shot parried following a corner routine with Spinks on the spot to turn home the rebound and give England a half-time lead.

The second half was less than two minutes old when England added to their tally to make

it 3-1 thanks to some quick thinking from Walsh, as he fizzed the ball straight to Pratt after a French attack, with the striker doing the rest by firing home with his left foot.

Pratt then made it 4-1 with just over 13 minutes remaining, as Spinks’ cross-field pass left him with a simple finish at the far post to add more distance between the teams.

France rallied though, with Jean Gury and the Mundubeltz duo proving a threat as they looked to find a way back into the game.

But England also had further chances of their own and Jacob Heasman came closest inside the last two minutes to making it 5-1 with French 'keeper Mathieu Bouchard making the latest in a string of saves to keep the Para Lions at bay.

Daley’s team would no doubt have settled for this result going into the game though, and they will now regroup for Friday’s rest day before resuming their campaign on Saturday.

England: 1 Jack Walsh, 3 Josh Pugh, 4 Harry Gibbons, 6 Doug Pratt, 10 Adam Lione

Substitutes: 5 Harry MacDonald, 7 John McDougall, 8 Jacob Heasman, 11 Liam Spinks

Coach: Steve Daley

Goals: Adam Lione, Liam Spinks, Doug Pratt (2)

France: 1 Mathieu Bouchard, 5 Sebastien Desolle, 7 Alexis Mundubeltz, 8 Matthieu Mundubeltz, 9 Jean Gury

Substitutes: 10 Mehdi Madoui, 4 Julian Riccetti, 11 Seckou Sonko, 16 Antoine Charbonnier

Goal: Alexis Mundubeltz
17 Aug 2023 90:00

England Partially Sighted v France

Watch back the game in full as the Para Lions get their first win of the IBSA World Championship